Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
Of the Asian cuisines showcased in Boston, I crave Vietnamese food the least. I’ve thrown pho on my list of never agains. Star anise is one of my natural born enemies, so it should come as no surprise when I detected its slight presence in my pho broth, I swore off pho for good. Such a shame since bottomless bowls of noodles sound so good on paper. Occasionally, I’ll have a hankering for a spring roll, but that’s usually when I’m not sober and am feeling like a true fatty mcfatterson. A few weeks ago, I had a huge yen for a bánh mì sandwich. For anyone who is unfamiliar with this wonderful treat, it is grilled meat (my favorite is pork), with mayo, pate (YUM!), whole cilantro sprigs, fish sauce, pickled carrots and daikon, and hots.
Beef sandwich at Phở Viet
All of these ingredients are encased in a very light baguette that has a very nice crisp outside and a soft inside. This translates into it will flake all over you as you eat it. Be ready with a solid leaning sandwich stance, lest you fall victim to the bread crumb storm.
I love this sandwich not just for its rich flavors and wonderfully tart carrot/daikon mix, but also for its history. The sandwich showcases some of Vietnam’s French roots, and not that I’m necessarily all for colonization, I am for food fusion. I have a deep appreciation for flavors that change because of the times. Someone was innovative enough to think, let me mix what I have locally and throw some French fats on it (pate and mayo) and serve on a delicate French influenced baguette. Or maybe it was someone who had all this food on its way out and figured, Oh fine I’ll just throw it all on a piece of bread and deal with it. Whatever the case may be, thank you! You’ve given me the one Vietnamese dish that makes my heart sing.
P.S. Go ahead and let this post title sink in. Yes? Yes? I’m basking in my cleverness.